Loading of PAX3 to Mitotic Chromosomes Is Mediated by Arginine Methylation and Associated with Waardenburg Syndrome [Cell Biology]

July 6th, 2015 by Wu, T.-F., Yao, Y.-L., Lai, I.-L., Lai, C.-C., Lin, P.-L., Yang, W.-M.

PAX3 is a transcription factor critical to gene regulation in mammalian development. Mutations in PAX3 are associated with Waardenburg syndrome (WS), but the mechanism of how mutant PAX3 proteins cause WS remains unclear. Here, we found that PAX3 loads on mitotic chromosomes using its homeodomain (HD). PAX3 WS mutants with mutations in HD lose the ability to bind mitotic chromosomes. Moreover, loading of PAX3 on mitotic chromosomes requires arginine methylation, which is regulated by methyltransferase PRMT5 and demethylase JMJD6. Mutant PAX3 proteins that lose mitotic chromosome localization block cell proliferation and normal development of zebrafish. These results reveal the molecular mechanism of PAX3's loading on mitotic chromosomes and the importance of this localization pattern in normal development. Our findings suggest that PAX3 WS mutants interfere with the normal functions of PAX3 in a dominant negative manner, which is important to the understanding of the pathogenesis of Waardenburg syndrome.